If you are looking to climb the ladder of success in your career, a mentor can give you some valuable insight and support along the way.

What is a mentor?
By definition, a mentor is a trusted counselor or guide. Applied to your profession, it is someone who will coach, guide, nurture and cheer you on in your career! Everyone needs someone who is in their corner, rooting for them when things get tough and spurring them on toward greater accomplishments—that’s what a mentor will do.

Finding the right mentor
There are several different ways to find a mentor. Some companies offer formal mentoring programs where interested employees are paired up with seasoned professionals in the organization. Professional associations and industry events are another great place to seek out a mentor, even if it is not a formal arrangement. Or, you can leverage the power of social media to find someone who is willing to mentor you—LinkedIn is a great starting spot!

Before you select a mentor, do a little self-assessment. What do you hope to achieve from the mentoring relationship? What skills do you want to develop? What are your career aspirations? Write it down and make it the filter you use to identify the right mentor for you. Keep in mind, your mentor should be someone in your field who has demonstrated success, shares your values and with whom you have good rapport. These are all important factors in a successful mentoring relationship.

The value a mentor brings
More than a coach and a motivator, a mentor can become a real catalyst to your career by exposing you to experience and insight, while helping you find direction and valuable industry connections.

Experience – A mentor has already been down the road you are traveling. Partnering together, you are able to glean from their professional wisdom, successes, failures and experience.

Insight – A mentor is someone who can give you an unbiased perspective about the challenges you are facing, as well as constructive criticism about your strengths and weaknesses.

Direction – If you are unsure about your career path, a mentor can help guide you in your decision-making by sharing the path they took, options you might consider, pros and cons, etc.

Connections – Knowing people higher up the ladder in your profession is always a benefit. A mentor can connect you to individuals they know that will serve as a valuable contact in your professional network.

If you are serious about your career, seek out a mentor that will spur you on toward success!